Understanding unconscious plagiarism: the effects of idea elaboration and perceived idea quality on later recall and recognition of ideas

Rachel Elliman


Previous research has shown that idea improvement and perceived idea quality have differential effects on recall-own and generate-new plagiarism. Participants completed a generative task in pairs and read some ideas perceived to be of high quality before elaborating on a selection of the ideas. It was expected that other-generated ideas that had been improved or read out loud would be more susceptible to unconscious plagiarism. Participants returned a week later to complete recall-own generated, recall-own read, generate-new and source monitoring tasks. Partner-generated ideas were significantly more likely to be plagiarised following improvement only. Participants were significantly more likely to plagiarise their partner’s ideas in the generate-new task. These findings are discussed in relation to previous research and theories of unconscious plagiarism.

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